What do ‘Dates for fil­ing’ and ‘Ap­pli­ca­tion fil­ing dates’ mean on the monthly visa bul­letin?

The Philippine Star - - OPINION - MICHAEL J. GURFINKEL, ESQ

Since Oc­to­ber 2015, the monthly Visa Bul­letin (pri­or­ity dates) was re­vised, adding a new col­umn or chart called the “Ap­pli­ca­tion Fil­ing Dates or “Dates for Fil­ing.” (There is also a col­umn or chart called “Fi­nal Ac­tion Dates” or “Visa Is­suance Dates.”)

But what does the Ap­pli­ca­tion Fil­ing Date mean? How does it af­fect the is­suance of an im­mi­grant visa or grant­ing of ad­just­ment of sta­tus? Many peo­ple are con­fused be­tween the Ap­pli­ca­tion Fil­ing Date and the Fi­nal Ac­tion Date.

Fi­nal Ac­tion date: This is the col­umn or chart for what had been the ac­tual pri­or­ity dates, when a visa could be is­sued or ad­just­ment of sta­tus ap­proved and to cal­cu­late a child’s age un­der the Child Sta­tus Pro­tec­tion Act (CSPA).

Dates for Fil­ing date: Af­ter the State Depart­ment pub­lishes the monthly Visa Bul­letin, USCIS de­cides whether it will use the Dates for Fil­ing or Fi­nal Ac­tion Dates for ac­cept­ing ad­just­ment of sta­tus ap­pli­ca­tions for fam­ily and em­ploy­ment­based pe­ti­tions. If USCIS uses the “Dates for Fil­ing” chart for a par­tic­u­lar month, and the per­son’s pri­or­ity date is ear­lier than the pri­or­ity date on the Dates for Fil­ing chart, they can al­ready file for ad­just­ment of sta­tus and work autho­riza­tion (pro­vided they are oth­er­wise el­i­gi­ble). This could al­low peo­ple to ob­tain work autho­riza­tion much sooner than when they had to wait for the pri­or­ity date to be cur­rent (in the Visa Is­suance or Fi­nal Ac­tion Date col­umn) to file for ad­just­ment and be el­i­gi­ble for a green card.

The Dates for Fil­ing col­umn would also be about the time the NVC would send out forms to the ben­e­fi­ciary to be filled out, if the per­son is ap­ply­ing for an im­mi­grant visa abroad. The Dates for Fil­ing col­umn also re­flects when the State Depart­ment ex­pects the Fi­nal Ac­tion Dates to be cur­rent 8 to 12 months in the fu­ture. In other words, if a per­son’s pri­or­ity date is listed in the Dates for Fil­ing col­umn, their pri­or­ity date would be cur­rent in the Fi­nal Ac­tion Date col­umn in less than a year. How­ever, if a per­son pri­or­ity date is cur­rent in the Dates for Fil­ing date col­umn, it does not mean they are el­i­gi­ble for a visa or ad­just­ment of sta­tus right now. In­stead, they might be el­i­gi­ble 8 to 12 months later.

If you have a pri­or­ity date, and it is close to be­ing cur­rent, and you have ques­tions as to which chart ap­plies to you and whether you are el­i­gi­ble to ap­ply for im­mi­gra­tion ben­e­fits in a par­tic­u­lar month, you should seek the ad­vice of an at­tor­ney, to make sure you’re not miss­ing out on a crit­i­cal fil­ing date. WEB­SITE: www.gurfinkel.com Fol­low us on Face­book.com/GurfinkelLaw and Twit­ter @GurfinkelLaw Four of­fices to serve you: PHILIP­PINES: 8940258 or 8940239; LOS AN­GE­LES; SAN FRAN­CISCO; NEW YORK: TOLL FREE NUM­BER: 1-866-GURFINKEL (1-866-487-3465)

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